Attorney faces probation after misconduct in divorce case

A California lawyer is facing probation and other possible consequences after he mishandled filings and procedures in a divorce case and failed to respond in a timely manner to the State Bar after his client filed a complaint. The issues stemmed from a case that began in 2011; the attorney's probationary period began in late 2016.

According to the records in this case, the attorney was hired by a woman in 2011 to represent her during a divorce. In August of the next year, the lawyer reportedly filed the divorce petition, but it wasn't until October 2013 that he filed proof that the woman's spouse had received summons in the matter. Apparently there was some issue with the proof and the address to which the summons was supposedly delivered.

The court returned the petition to the lawyer, who refiled it quickly and asked for a default ruling. This began a series of incomplete filings that lasted through November 2014, at which time the lawyer excused himself from the divorce case. According to records, the lawyer didn't properly notify the client that he was backing out of the case and she later filed a complaint with the State Bar.

Though the attorney didn't respond to original inquiries from the State Bar, he had no record of professional disciplinary action and had been practicing since 1997. While the State Bar found that he did not handle his case appropriately, they also took his history into account. The result of their review was that he was put on probation, which means he'll need to send in quarterly reports about his status, pass an exam and prove that he passed the State Bar Ethics school course. If he fails to do any of these, he can be suspended.

Lawyers can make mistakes or mishandle cases. If you feel that your case was mishandled professionally and that the outcome led to loss for you, you might be able to seek reparation. Talk to a third-party legal professional about your options when facing legal negligence.

Source: Northern California Record, "Inglewood attorney serves probation after misconduct in divorce case," Olivia Olsen, Feb. 01, 2017

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